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Resolving conflict in your relationship

No matter how much a couple loves each other, a brain tumour diagnosis can put a lot of extra stress on their relationship.

Living with some of the everyday effects caused by a brain tumour or its treatment is enough to make anybody more argumentative. For carers and partners though, these arguments can often lead to feeling like their help isn’t appreciated.

The new Relationship Support Service is the most flexible and personal service I've ever experienced. It's tailor made for my needs and the situation of a partner living with someone with a brain tumour.

Read Brendan's story

Brandon's partner experienced low moods following her brain surgery and the couple realised it was becoming difficult to jointly care for their daughter. Conflicts at home seemed compounded by lockdown.

Brandon found life a challenge and said he often felt tearful and was struggling to access support from his network because he felt he didn't want to burden them. That's when we introduced him to our new relationship service which Brandon says has been a great help;

"It has been really supportive. I've felt understood and backed. I've felt the therapist has been really there for me.

"It's relieved some pressure and given me a space to explore my emotions without worrying what the other person thinks or worrying that I need to protect them.

"I've had around half the allocated sessions and its been agreed I can reserve the remaining ones for as and when I need them - I feel this may be soon as my partner is due to have surgery in the next two months.

"It's the most flexible and personal service I've ever experienced, tailor made for my needs and the situation of a partner living with someone with a brain tumour."

Whether you’re currently in a relationship, or hoping to start a new one, our partnership with Relate can help you get the most out of your relationships. If you think talking to someone might help, click the link below to find out more about our new Relationship Support Service.

Other effects, like personality changes or depression, can even cause someone to behave in an upsetting way without realising it. Many carers and partners say that sometimes it can seem like their partner is a completely different person.

Whether you’re living with a brain tumour or your partner is, coping with these additional arguments can be difficult. Especially if either of you is finding it hard to talk about your feelings.

I needed support when I was so worried and stressed and my wife wasn’t able to provide it or understand what I was going through.

Read Scott's story

Ultimately, communication is vital for resolving conflict in a relationship. But this can take plenty of practice and patience from both partners.

You don’t need to go through this alone though. Relate offer a wide range of content to help people experiencing relationship difficulties and we’ve teamed up with them to provide a counselling service for couples and individuals whose relationship has been affected by a brain tumour.

Find out more

We know that, sadly, some people in our community have seen changes in their loved ones that have led to them being violent or aggressive, although this is rare. 

These changes can seem even more worrying in the current situation, but it’s important to remember that if this is something you’re experiencing, your safety is paramount and the current social distancing (or isolation) rules don’t apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic violence.

If you feel you’re at risk of abuse, remember there’s help and support available, including police response, online support, helplines, refuges and other services.

You are not alone!

Find out more

This content and our relationship counselling service have been created in partnership with Relate, the leading relationships charity in England and Wales. If you found this information useful, you might also find the following resources by Relate interesting:

This content and our relationship support service has been created in partnership with Relate - the leading relationships charity in England and Wales.

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If you need someone to talk to or advice on where to get help, our Support and Information team is available by phone, email or live-chat.